Great news from the Pohl situation.
From the Strib ...
Jim Pohl was watching from opposite the Gophers bench at Alltel Center in Mankato. His wife, Joanne, was nearby, sitting in the fan section near the goal line with other players' parents as the Gophers battled Minnesota State Mankato Sunday night.
Early in the second period, Jim saw son Tom go down in front of the bench, and when his youngest son did not get up, a sick feeling came over the former high school coach and the father of four hockey-playing sons.
It is still traumatic for Jim Pohl to talk about that night. Tom, a popular senior forward on the team, was airlifted from Mankato to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. At 1 a.m. he was in surgery to repair bleeding on the brain and a skull fracture. He was in surgery for nearly four hours.
But on Friday, Tom, 23, was released from the hospital and was resting at his parents' home in Red Wing. With Tom sleeping, Jim Pohl talked about the ordeal Tom and the Pohl family endured.
He was grateful, for the medical treatment Tom received on the rink and at Mayo Clinic, and for the countless hockey people throughout the state who offered sympathy, best wishes and prayers. His son's progress has amazed him.
"On Tuesday morning, 28 hours after brain surgery, he was walking around," Jim Pohl said. "He had three things going for him: He is young. He is in phenomenal shape, and he has tremendous support."
Tom Pohl's brothers Mike, 24, and Mark, 27, drove from the Twin Cities. His oldest brother, John, 28, who plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and John's wife, Krissy (Wendell) -- both were All-America players at Minnesota -- caught the first flight they could Monday morning in Toronto.
Jim Pohl said it took a long time for Tom to awaken after surgery, and he was quiet at first, but then ...
"Tommy recognized his whole family, and that was a positive sign," Jim said. "He was happy his brothers and family were with him. He thanked everybody for being there."
Before the surgery, Pohl's parents were told he had blood clots that had to be removed or it could be fatal for him. The surgery went well, the clots were removed, the bleeding stopped.
"The prognosis is for continued improvement," Jim Pohl said. "He's moving well and speaking well. And he has to get up and walk around every so often."
His recovery will take some time.
"Tuesday afternoon he had physical therapy," Jim Pohl said. "He walked around the ward and he was pretty exhausted. And this is a guy who was in tremendous shape, and that's one reason he is out of the hospital, besides all the prayers and efforts of so many people.
"You love your children, and part of life is challenges. But this is -- whoa."
Mark Pohl also had a scary injury that ended his hockey career.
"He went into the boards headfirst in the USHL in 2001 playing for the Tri-City Storm," Jim Pohl said. "His mother was at the game, so this is the second time through something like this for her. He was paralyzed for a time, a few hours."
Jim Pohl said his family also worried about Jason Wiley of the Mavericks.
Wiley, a sophomore forward, is the player whose elbow knocked Tom's helmet off. Tom's head then appeared to hit the top of the low boards in front of the Gophers' bench and then the ice.
"Jason is in our prayers, too," Jim Pohl said. "He has had a tremendous amount of things to deal with. From our perspective there was no intention on his part to injure someone."
Wiley visited Tom in the hospital on Wednesday, with Pohl's whole family there, too. "It was pretty special," Jim Pohl said of the visit.
Tom tried to watch the Gophers' game against St. Cloud State on Thursday night but slept through most of it.
"He did not see much except the last half of the third period," Jim Pohl said. "He was pretty excited for his teammates."
The Gophers won 3-2 on a last-minute goal.
"Tommy is on the road to recovery," Jim Pohl said. "There will be good days and some tough days. But Good Friday is a good day for our family."
Tom Pohl was home and healing.